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tv   This Is America With Dennis Wholey  WHUT  January 9, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm EST

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>> if you're a regular viewer of "this is america" you know we've been interested in korea for a number of years and have traveled here many times. this fall we were invited to visit don juan province in south korea. it's historic because of the korean war, stunning because of its environment and fascinating because it borders on the d.m.z. a few days before the scheduled broadcast of this program, north korea attacked south korea. we made the decision at the time to delay this broadcast. "this is america" in gone wang
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province, south korea, may be of greater interest to you now. "this is america" is made possible by -- the national education association. the nation's largest advocate for children and public education. ed league of arab state, representing 350 million people in 22 member countries. the roatanline darrow family trust. the c.t.c. foundation. o.f.o. communications. and the american life tv network.
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several years ago "this is america" visited the d.m.z., the demilitarized zone which separates south and north korea. the armistice was signed here at the end of the korean war, which spanneded 1950 through 1953. the d.m.z., which is extend 155 miles across the korean peninsula, is 2 1/2 miles wide. the d.m.z. is not a straight line across the korean peninsula. the d.m.z. actually redrew earlier boundaries which separated the two countries so that today some north korean landmarks are now in south korea. on this trip we visited another area of south korea to explore many sites at and around a different part of the d.m.z.
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most of the d.m.z. lies within the province of gonk wang or gong wang dough in korea, meaning province. it is set within the unique and natural beauty and absolutely breathtaking. once a fierce battleground, this area has been reborn eck logically -- ecologically over the past 60 years and is similar to the land which lies within the borders of the d.m.z. we visited an area devoted exclusively to the d.m.z. with professor chan wang to learn about the history of the conflict and his dreams for the region. at the museum i talked with professor kim. what would you like people in america to know in 2010 about
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north and south korea? translator: i want american people to know that the war is still going on. >> how sew is it still going on? translator: the cease-fire between north and south korea on july 27, 1953, is a cease-fire, not stop fire. >> cease-fire but not stop fighting? so there's always tension here between south and north? >> yes. >> if you turn the clock back to 1950, what triggered the war? translator: i was not born in 1950 and i'm not an expert on politics or history. and from my point of view, the
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cold war between the united states and soviet union triggered the korean war. >> so who was fighting the war? translator: koreans actually fighting the war but south korea was backed by the united states and north korea was backed by the soviet union. >> so it really was an acting out of the cold war by the united states and russia with north korea and south korea troops involved? translator: i think the korean war is kind of a proxy war. >> the armistice was signed in 1953 and created the demilitarized zone, the d.m.z. why is that so unique? translator: right now d.m.z. has
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a unique account because nobody can enter into that zone. and i want to focus on not only the ecology but also the process of the ecological transformation. >> my understanding is during the war it was absolutely barren because of all of the fighting that went on there. so when we talk about the ecological area of the d.m.z., which also is the ecological area of this province, it startford nothing, right, in 1953? so it's in process? translator: yes, you are right. >> so the ecological development over the last almost 60 years is something of a miracle?
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>> yes. >> so for someone who's interested in ecology as you are, education as you are, geography, as you are, it's kind of a dream, huh? translator: i want to rename the demilitarized zone into geo park. >> what is what is a geopark? translator: geo park is say nature program. geopark is a complex, which is all of the geography, ecology, human life and culture. >> the idea is for gong wan do to become a geopark? translator: yes. >> that would be a huge area of land, would it not be?
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translator: geopark is not the general park. geopark combines the south so it is a more broader site than generally people think. >> after our conversation, professor kim took me on a tour of the d.m.z. museum where we saw a tragic relics and modern day re-creations of the korean war. after the tour, the professor and i set out to visit some of the historic sites in gong wan do. to learn about gong wan do, i had a conversation with the governor of the province. is it stressful for people who live in south korea along the border? on their psyche, does it affect them? does it affect the people who them? does it affect the people who live there on a day-to-day basis? translator: yes, it's very stressful.
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for example, the military has to train every day, which is off limits to civilians. the rest of them have a lot of economic restrictions and limitations. for example, the bombers would -- farmers would like to go into their own rice paddies. they have to go through the military security. >> talk a little bit about the province itself. you're a governor here. how many people live here? >> 1.5 million >> what do the people do here? how do they make their living? translator: mostly through farming, tourism and service industry. there are not that many manufacturing industries in the province. if there are, i would like to focus more on the medical equipment and biotechnology, such as food products, cosmetics and antibiotics. >> we've traveled in the county and noticed the incredible beauty of the mountains.
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it's a very mountainous area. does it draw right now a number of tourists? are they primarily from other parts of korea or all over the world?1x÷c
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they suffered a lot of economical and culture problems. so i think they each can support the lot. >> so do you have a specific plan in mind? translator: yes, i have a specific plan.
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i think the residents of the d.m.z. need an economic approach, economic approach should include construction of roads and construction of extensions. >> does president li and do your fellow members of the national assembly, did they look favorably on wong gong doe? -- gangwon-do? >> they also think my area is very important. for instance, if south korea and north korea can be reunified, this area can be a starting point for all of it. >> so as we have toured the province in the last few days,
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historic value in this area but also natural beauty as well, huh? translator: even though there is constitution to be a confrontation between north and south korea, still this area has a lot of culture and economy. >> if i was coming here as a tourist to this area, what three things would you have them see? translator: first i think the beautiful mountains is very attractive. it's not should but is very beautiful. second, the d.m.z. area can be attractive better to the tourist and other one is the life of the
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residents. >> one of the highlights of our trip was visiting the d.m.z. itself. we traveled through the rural farming area of gangwon-do before being met by south korean military forces and obtaining security clearances to get into the military base located at the d.m.z. with extremely tight security arrangements in place, we were escorted onto the base and into its observation platform high in the mountains, which overlooked the border between south and north korea. the contrast of tension at the d.m.z. area and the beauty of the location are striking. we've traveled to a very secure south korean military base past many checkpoints with a military escort to come to the closest point we can to north korea. this is the d.m.z. and it
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represents a huge piece of history. tend of the war in 1953, the d.m.z. redefined borders between south and north korea. the view, along with its historical significance, is an experience i will never forget. gangwon-do in south korea houses land that formally belonged to north korea. for example, in this unique province we found the summer home of the first president of south korea, and marie, and the former summer home of kim ill song. and just as governor li had told us, you can see one cottage from the other. another ironic example of this gong wang doe d.m.z. geography is the north labor party building located in south korea. the building is scarred by
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bullets, the architecture distinctly russian. it was the d.m.z. that changed this location. so now this building which was in north korea is now in south korea, yes? translator: when it was used by the how did they use this building? translator: this building was used for severe interrogation by north korea military. >> now, we're just seeing the facade of the building right now riddled with bullet holes. translator: the bullet holes is evidence of a severe combat between energy and south korea and if you see the stairway, those stairways were broken into
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tanks. tanks used those to conquer that building. >> this is one of the most important sites here in gangwon-do. translator: this building is very important because the building is the only building left over from the cold war. >> after leaving the labor party building, i had a chance to talk with the mayor of one of gangwon-do's major cities. chair wan, tell me about the area. translator: the most significant part is is that it separates north and south korea, and it is a military area where civilians are still living alongside the military. >> there's a council of mayors and you're the head of the council. can you tell me a little bit about it? >> the borderline area is made up of ten cities and districts
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and i am head of the association. >> what's the work of the council? translator: my role is to find out how we can preserve and develop the borderline area. there has been a lot of economic disadvantages and i would like to focus on a new world that would improve the live of the residents. >> how are the residents impacted? translator: our government has a special law called military protection that regulates and restricts the lives of residents. for example, we cannot build houses or buildings and they have limited property rights. it is these disadvantages that have held us back from becoming industrialized for the past 60 years. government cannot place all of those responsibilities on this borderline from our nation's security. >> when our viewers at home think of the d.m.z., what would you have them believe?
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what would you have them know? translator: d.m.z. is a place to alleviate tension between north korea and south korea. for the past years there hastac north and south. on the other hand, nature is very well preserved. d.m.z. is a place of evolutions between energy and south korea. it is a place where people are still living alongside the military. if the government can come up with a new law to improve the quality of the lives of the residents, then this area will not only be preserved but it will become a living heritage. >> are you making progress? >> it takes a lot more than the municipal government. the national government needs to pick part and come up with new laws to collect more money.
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we need financial support from the government to improve and enhance the quality of our lives. we need some authority over our own lives. >> we visited many places in south korea over the years. nowhere else in the country have we found so many memorable and historic sites within such incredible natural beauty as we did in gangwon-do. over the past several days, we experienced a war-torn history, a prissteen environment and some exciting proposals for future growth and development. "this is america" visits "this is america" visits gangwon-do, south korea. for online video of all "this is america" programs, visit our website.
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"this is america "soose made possible by the national education association. the nation's largest advocate for children and public education. the american federation of the american federation of teachers. a union of professionals. the league of arab states. representing 350 million people in 22 member countries.
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